It’s that time of year when educators and instructors are planning like mad for the coming semester or quarter, so we are highlighting some resources to help you get started using Omeka in your class.
You might be asking, well, how have others incorporated Omeka into assignments or final student projects? What were the learning objectives and expected outcomes? We know of many instructors using Omeka, these are a few pieces they wrote describing processes involved in launching student-driven digital projects with Omeka:
- “Teaching and Learning with Omeka: Discomfort, Play, and Creating Public, Online, Digital Collections,” in Learning Through Digital Media: Experiments inTechnology and Pedagogy, Jeff McClurken
- “History Harvests: What Happens When Students Collect and Digitize the People’s History?”, Perspectives on History, William G. Thomas,Patrick D. Jones, Andrew Witmer (History Harvests use Omeka for organizing, displaying, and building exhibits from collected materials.)
- Teaching with Omeka, ProfHacker blog, Jeff McClurken
- Toward a Student-Centered Collaborative Approach to DH Design–the ECDA’s Omeka Installation as a “Knowledge Lab,” Benjamin J. Doyle
- Teaching with Omeka: Presenting the Peries Project, Devin Griffiths
- Announcing the Dick Dowling Digital Archive, Caleb McDaniel
- Teaching with Omeka, THATCamp Pedagogy, Amanda French and Jeff McClurken,| video
Running Omeka on a Server or Omeka.net
Now that you know how some people have used Omeka in their classes, consider your technical abilities and capabilities. Do you have access to a Linux server? Would you need hosting? How much support can you offer students? Do you wish to only use Omeka as a web service?
If you are not interested in setting up a server or in finding outside hosts, you can try the Omeka.net service. See, http://info.omeka.net for more information about signing up for an Omeka.net account and the different plans available (for free and for purchase). Check out this spreadsheet that details the differences in functionality, storage space, plugins, themes: http://bit.ly/compareomekas
Consider contacting your library liaison, department chair, or IT services representative about purchasing an Omeka.net Platinum plan so that everyone at your school has access to Omeka sites and to all of the plugins and themes available on Omeka.net.
Building a Site
You have an Omeka site, now, how do you and your students begin to plan and to add content?
- Start with the Site Planning Tips to get a sense of what plugins might be useful for you.
- Don’t forget to pick a theme for the public side of your site.
- Move on to the “Working with Omeka Admin” section of the documentation at Omeka.org
- Browse other available plugins.
- Find yourself stuck? Browse through the forums, because someone else may have had the same question.
- Need more technical info and ready to dig into the code? Visit the developers’ documentation.
- Start with “Up and Running with Omeka.net”, by Miriam Posner on the Programming Historian.
- Find other guidance in a use case for educators that offers some site planning tips with links to sections such as, “Build a Website.”
- “Create an Omeka.net Exhibit”, by Miriam Posner, on the Programming Historian.
- Browse themes and plugins available in your plan.
- Find instructions and guides specifc to Omeka.net questions on info.omeka.net.
- Need some help? Send questions through the Contact form.
Building digital projects always takes longer than you think. Be sure to plan enough time for snafus, and warn your students that they need to plan as well.
Take some time to work through the decision-making process on getting Omeka installed or using Omeka.net, before introducing it to students.
We have provided many resources to help users of all technical abilities to get started using Omeka for a class project. We ask that as you are instructing students to build sites together, or individually, that you encourage them to collaborate and problem solve together. Peers should serve as the “first ask” for technical questions before posting to the forums or sending an email.
We do our best to respond to questions on the forums and email, but if you or your students ask a question the night before a project is due, it is possible that you will not get a response before class.
Even with those few cautionary words, we hope that you will dive in and use Omeka this semester or next to help students to learn about the processes of knowledge creation, to work with a digital publishing platform, and to develop a public scholarly voice.